LIVE! at Indiana

LIVE! at Indiana

Indiana 56, Illinois 46 — FINAL

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A game after going scoreless for the first time in his collegiate career, Illinois’ Rayvonte Rice scored 20 points to go along with four rebounds Sunday at Assembly Hall, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Illini from suffering their sixth straight loss.

Rice scored 12 of Illinois’ first 16 points and his 20 points were the most he had scored since scoring 19 at Wisconsin on Jan. 8.

Indiana was led by Yogi Ferrell’s 17 points, 15 of which came in the second half. Stanford Robinson scored 10 points to go along with five rebounds and Noah Vonleh (four points), pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds.

Tracy Abrams, hampered by an apparent leg injury for much of the game, was limited to two points.

More later on HQ.

Indiana 40, Illinois 32 — 11:35 second half

The Hoosiers, led by Yogi Ferrell, have opened the second half on a tear, outscoring the Illini 16-8 in the first eight minutes. Ferrell, who didn’t record a field goal and had two points and the half, made three straight for Indiana to open the final 20 minutes. Ferrell has 11 points.

Jaylon Tate started the second half at point guard for the Illini. Tracy Abrams had been in and out of the locker room during the first half with an injury that appears to be lower body.

Abrams spent part of the early portion of the half standing behind the Illinois bench swinging his legs trying to stay loose. He checked in and has been rotating in and out with Jaylon Tate.

Nnanna Egwu got a post touch during the first minute of the half and buried a shot hook. I think it was his first post touch of the game.

Illinois has shown some zone throughout the game and they continue to mix it in. One of the assistants asked a manager for their numbers while playing the zone.

Indiana 26, Illinois 24 — Halftime

As the Illinois players entered the halftime locker room, John Groce greeted each of them with a high-energy high-five. He loved the effort in the first 20 minutes.

After going to the locker room for treatment, then checking back into the game, Tracy Abrams went back into the locker room at the under-12 timeout. Not sure what his injury is, but he’s limping and grimacing noticeably.

John Groce was letting Pat Driscoll have it after calling a timeout. He thought Jaylon Tate got fouled on a turnover that turned into a layup at the other end.

Rayvonte Rice appears to have returned to form. He’s making threes and the acrobatic buckets he was making earlier this season before his recent slide.

But after scoring 12 of the first 16 Illinois points, Rice picked up his second foul with less than eight minutes to go in the half and went to the bench.

But he returned with 5:30 left in the half with those two fouls.

Solid half for Jaylon Tate. The most impressive thing he’s done is bury that deep jumper when Indiana took an eight-point lead. If he can get consistent with those, he’ll be so much more dangerous. Teams sag off of him big time.

The Illini used an 8-0 run late in the half to tie the game at 24. It was ended by a Noah Vonleh hook shot off the glass, his firs two-point bucket against Illinois this season.

Illinois shot 9 for 28 (32.1 percent) from the floor and 3 for 12 (25 percent) from three.

Rice led the way with his 12 points. Jaylon Tate added six, four shy of his career high.

Indiana shot 9 for 24 (37.5 percent) from the floor and 1 for 6 (16.7) from three.

Austin Etherington led the way with seven points. Troy Williams added six.

John Groce’s son Conner and Dustin Ford’s son Max saw two guys in the tunnel dressed as Mario and Luigi and they were excited.

The Super Mario Bros. shot free throws at halftime. They were horrible.

Indiana 9, Illinois 5 — 11:57 first half

Tracy Abrams limped to the bench early in the game and initially refused medical treatment. At the end of the first media timeout, he went to the locker room with athletic trainer Paul Schmidt. He checked back in a few minutes later.

Rayvonte Rice won’t go scoreless in consecutive games. He hit a three early.

Illinois is 2 for 9 from the floor (22.2 percent) with five turnovers. Indiana is shooting 3 for 11 (27.3) with four turnovers.

Indiana students got on Groce right away, When Bertrand was called for a foul less than a minute in, one yelled, “Take him out, John, you can’t stand for that!”

Forgot to mention, Mike Kitts, Mike Sanzere and Pat Driscoll are your officials today. Veteran bunch.

Paul Klee text earlier to inform he was boarding his plane to the Super Bowl. He used to hate covering games here.

Indiana turned it over three times in its first five possessions. They turned it over a ton in Champaign.

Indiana football coach Kevin Wilson introduced his football team, including quarterback Tre Roberson during the first media timeout. Roberson was holding the Old Oaken Bucket.

Wilson asked the fans to show love to all the recruits from all sports in the house. He reminded Signing Day is in about a week.

He said “It’s a great day to be a Hoosier” and “It’s a great day to beat Illinois!”

Some students have a couple of signs. One reads: “Reasons we go to IU: “IUBB, LITTLE 5, MARK CUBAN.”

The other one: Reasons to go to U of I: “TO BUY BOOZE ON SUNDAYS.” That’s the only reason.

Katy Perry takes us into the under-12 timeout with "Roar.". Anyone seen that new GQ issue?

Illinois (13-7, 2-5) at Indiana (12-7, 2-4) — TIPOFF (BTN)

Illinois will go with the usual starting lineup of Tracy Abrams, Rayvonte Rice, Joseph Bertrand, Jon Ekey and Nnanna Egwu.

Indiana counters with Yogi Ferrell, Stanford Robinson, Will Sheehey, Troy Robinson and Noah Vonleh.

John Groce reminded us yesterday that in five of Illinois’ seven losses, they were tied of ahead with seven minutes or less to play. They’ve been relatively competitive, they’ve got to find ways to win games. If they can get one here, that would be mighty impressive.

They turn the lights out to show that video of the redheaded woman mopping the floors singing “Indiana.” They love that stuff here.

Groce’s wife Allison, an Indiana grad, is wearing a stripped orange and blue sleeve. She and the other coach’s wives wore those in Maui. Maybe it’s some superstition kicking in.

An Indiana fan just thanked Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz for a story he wrote about Peyton Manning. No, it wasn’t Olivia Manning.

Tom Crean’s wife Joani, visited with the Illinois family section prior to the game. She has no brothers coaching in the Super Bowl this season.

The band played “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. One of my all-time favorite bands. That should get the folks rolling.

Illinois (13-7, 2-5) at Indiana (12-7, 2-4) — 2 p.m. BTN

The folks are starting to file into Assembly Hall. There are a bunch of Indiana football players here wearing their jerseys. I’m assuming there’s something going on with them today.

The newspapers that were handed out here read “Welcome to the real Assembly Hall.” Not sure if anyone informed the Hoosier folks that Illinois’ arena is now called State Farm Center.

This is the Coaches Versus Cancer weekend, so the Illinois coaches will be outfitted with sneakers with their suits. Illini assistants Dustin Ford and Jamall Walker are rocking the new Illinois edition Kevin Durants.

Indiana’s coaches are wearing sweat suits. I’m told Tom Crean isn’t a fan of wearing sneakers with suits.

Rob Judson visited with Jerry Hester briefly before the game. Judson recruited the Peoria Manual product when he was an assistant at Bradley and coached him at Illinois. Hester credits Judson with helping him out of a major shooting funk. He’s been jokingly calling Judson a traitor today.

I got the chance to speak real quick with Judson during warm-ups. Really nice man.

You always see interesting things here at Indiana. Some students, male and female, are wearing ballerina skirts. Another young woman is wearing a Batman costume. Speaking of the Caped Crusader, the 1989 edition of “Batman” starring Michael Keaton was on TV last night. Love that movie. My dad took me to see it when I was 8 and Batman has been my favorite superhero ever since.

By the way, Will Sheehey, who missed Indiana’s last game with an ankle injury has been on the floor dressed taking warm-ups. He looks to be a go today.

Looks like one of John Groce’s relatives, possibly a nephew, is wearing an orange No. 2 jersey with “Bertrand” ironed on the back.

Groce wife, Allison, is an Indiana graduate. No questioning her loyalties one bit today.

The music here today has been excellent. They’ve got two gigantic speakers on the floor at midcourt during warm-ups and I feel like I’m at a club. I’m ready to party. 

Illinois (13-7, 2-5) at Indiana (12-7, 2-4) — 2 p.m. BTN

Good afternoon from Assembly Hall for the Sunday matinee between bitter Big Ten rivals. It was quiet inside the arena here about two and a half hours before tipoff, but rest assured it’s going to get real loud in here real soon.

I heardan Assembly Hall worker say a while ago: “I wonder what are fans are going to yell now that Weber isn’t at Illinois anymore.” This is the first game Illinois has played here since Weber was fired.

I can’t type to you what used to be yelled in the direction of the former Illinois coach in this building. It would make George Carlin blush. I’m sure I’ll learn a few new words today with the student section right next to me.

Assembly Hall workers, tow hours before tip, lined the student seats with newspapers and white No. 11 jerseys. That should be an interesting sight.

I’ve seen grown men in candystriped pants again. I still don’t get that and never will.

Rode over today with Loren Tate and Fletcher Page from It’s the Georgian’s first time at Assembly Hall. He took photos of the five banners. Have you guys ever heard anything about those?

How weird is it going to be seeing Rob Judson on the Indiana sideline today? It’s just the second time in his coaching career the former Illini guard and assistant coach will coach against his alma mater. He was on the staff at Illinois State two years ago when the Illini beat the Redbirds in Cancun. Jon Ekey had a good game for ISU in that one.

I wrote about how Judson ended up at Indiana more than halfway through the season in today’s paper and on HQ. That’s linked on this page to the right.

How do you know it’s been a harsh winter? Someone just said “It actually feels really nice outside today.” The wind chill is about 25. And you know what, he was right. It was below zero in Columbus the other day.

By the way, make sure you stay tuned after the game today for the newest episode of the BTN show “The Journey.” Illinois guard Rayvonte Rice will be featured along with Minnesota’s DeAndre Mathieu and Nebraska assistant coach Chris Harriman.

What’s going to happen here today? Your guess is as good as mine. The Illini continue to be solid defensively, but just can’t buy enough buckets to win games. We know the Hoosiers can score. I see it being a tight game. What say you?

Evan Gordon was the first player from either team on the floor tonight. The senior transfer’s right middle finger is heavily taped.

Rob Judson visited with Illinois’ assistant coaches during warm-ups. Judson was on staff at Illinois State with Paris Parham.

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Moonpie wrote on January 26, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Get used to it, folks. This is how the rest of the season looks.They have one real Big Ten player in Rice and nothing much else this year. Egwu isn't much of a basketball player and definitely isn't a center. They could start Morgan at center and move Egwu to a forward spot, where he might accidentally do something good every now and then, and have some actual size on the floor, but doing so would mean bringing Bertrand off the bench, which Groce is loathe to do. So, he has a starting lineup of pee wees and one really tall stiff who can't play center or avoid fouls. But I'm sure Sir Tate Legend can rationalize it all for us. No doubt he will remind us that the Illini are "tough." But you can't have it both ways -- tough players don't lose six in a row and going on seven. Groce will no doubt remind us he's proud of his players' effort. But there's little to be proud of when the effort does nothing but extend a losing streak. Maybe Legend Tate will start implying that the losing streak is really just from bad officiating. Or marsh gas. Or Obama's fault. Or Chicago's fault. Or because it's snowing.Or Bob Knight's fault. Maybe they can just try and distract us from the losing streak with more silly columns implying Rob Judson is somehow a traitor because he took a job at Indiana.

aaeismacgychel wrote on January 27, 2014 at 1:01 pm

I think you're overstating it a little. Ray Rice is playing at an all-conference level (though I can't say I've been a fan at all of his decision making late in the 2nd halves of games- he seems to take us completely out of games with those decisions as much as keep us in games), so you have to give him his due. At worst he'll be chosen 2nd team all B10. As for everyone else, there are B10 players on the roster, but well, sigh... I think Ekey could contribute to most rosters especially on the defensive side- he needs to get better at making open threes and dunks, but, he tries and puts forth energy. He's a B10 player. Egwu showed promise last year but has greatly regressed- I don't think he'd be starting on any other B10 team right now. Tracy Abrams has really struggled and just has made awful decisions this year. Joseph Betrand- Man has he regressed. One of the worst passers I've ever seen in college basketball. As for the kids? Morgan is looking better after the slow start, Kendrick Nunn is finally finally not looking completely overmatched on the floor, Jaylon Tate has been up and down but he could become a decent point guard, Malcolm Hill has been pretty meh. I don't know. We need a lot of help right now.

OKOMIS wrote on January 26, 2014 at 5:01 pm

does this make sense????? Rice scored 12 of Illinois’ first 16 points and his 20 points were the most he had scored since scoring 19 at Wisconsin on Jan. 8.. 20's more than 19, right??


McMatt wrote on January 26, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Was really hoping that Illini would make a long Chicago winter more enjoyable.  Also hoped our coaching would improve over Coach Weber.  Sorry to admit that Coach Groce's offensive game plan looks like it might not work against Big 10 opponents who have seen it last year or this year.  We seem to be inclined to shoot (mostly out-of-rhythm) 3-point shots whether or not the team's talent fits that scheme.  Even before the team's woeful offensive performance against Indiana today, Illini are 11th in 3-point % made; 12th in assists; and 10th in free throws attempted.  That is a formula for offensive failure if ever I have seen one.  I am beginning to think that last year's finish is more about Brandon Paul getting ridiculously hot in some games than it is about Coach Groce knowing how to design and teach offensive concepts.  Hope I am wrong!

aaeismacgychel wrote on January 27, 2014 at 1:01 pm

No matter how biased we may have gotten, Weber was never a bad X's and O's coach. That quite possibly was his biggest strength here at Illinois. His problem was he had trouble recruiting high level kids who were willing and able to play within his system. And in general, he just wasn't all that great when it came to dealing with the modern athlete and athletes who had trouble motivating themselves.

So, we went with Groce because he is a high energy recruiter who can get along with and motivate the modern athlete, but from an X's and O's perspective, he certainly is lacking. While I know kids coming out of high school now want to play streetball with all isolation offense and lackluster defense, I'd kill to just see a few offensive sets a game. That said, during the later years of Weber's tenure, watching offensive sets wasn't fun either, because we didn't have a single player on the roster capable of making an entry pass, so it is what it is. Groce's high energy hasn't paid off as a recruiter yet, but it still might, and truth be told, considering we just roll the ball out and try Kentuckying it up, we're going to need that elite talent or else we'll just continue losing to coaches who instill team-based systems. You can win on talent alone only when your talent is far superior to your competition and we aren't close to there yet.

Oh, and Brandon Paul may just have been the most underrated player to put on an Illini jersey considering how much grief he was given when he was here.

stumblefoot wrote on January 26, 2014 at 8:01 pm

As bad as these guys are shooting, thanks for the heads-up on GQ.  Smokin'!  Will have the wife pick-up the issue tomorrow for me.  ;o)